Friday August 7th, 2009

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

wrestling-with-mosesDwight Garner writes a lively review of a new book about Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. Crazy fact: Jacobs isn’t mentioned once in Robert Caro’s 1,300-page biography of Moses, The Power Broker. A chapter about her was cut from the final product. . . . John Carey reviews a new biography of Muriel Spark, “microscopically researched [...] and zealously pro-Spark.” Even though Spark had a large role in the book’s creation, it sounds like she still comes across as something of an egotistical monster. . . . Praise for a new biography of T.R.M. Howard, a once-prominent figure in the civil rights movement, now largely forgotten. He sounds like a complicated, fascinating figure. . . . Acclaimed biographer Hermione Lee has written a brief book about the history of the craft. . . . Judith Shulevitz reviews a new collection of stories by Maile Meloy: “The objects of Meloy’s scrutiny, on the whole, fit the profile of the classical tragic hero; they are decent people with a flaw that rushes them toward their doom.”